tv [untitled] May 29, 2012 9:00am-9:30am PDT
the other thing we should discuss with the small business commission, i know a lot of times commissions go through existing bodies. we go through the chamber of commerce, the older and more established business associations, but unfortunately, a lot of smaller and ethnic businesses do not belong to those associations. they do not belong to the chamber. so we have to maybe work with the city to improve our out reached there, too. whatever we can do there, this department would like to do that with other city departments. >> besides out rich, i think our department would also -- outreach, i think our department should provide service or a list of inspectors, independent of the building
inspection department to say, you can consult these professionals about your needs and what you may need to do, or perhaps a reference for other things, interpretation of ada law. maybe we have some lawyers or agency that can help these private businesses with those things, that we can refer them to those people for help. habrone other group that we to h out to are the property owners. i do not know how many of the speakers today own their own buildings, but if you make any changes, you need the cooperation of the property owners as well. property owners are also liable to be ada. if we are going to do out reach, should extend to the property owners of the small businesses. >> i had a couple of questions.
one of the speakers had an interesting point, a question for the city attorney, which is, does the city have the authority, legally, to overlay deregulatory infrastructure when there is a federal law? is that possible? my other question is, does the city have the authority to tell property owners what to put in their lease? could somebody on the board of supervisors sponsor something requiring property owners to have the equivalent of an epa pamphlet, but on the ada? this is what you have to look for? >> the answer to your first question is, no, the city has no authority to regulate or
interpret federal laws. your second question, i do not know if i have an answer for you. i have not seen any laws where the city imposes requirements on landlords to include specific terms in their leases. i know that we do have requirements where property is sold, that there are certain disclosures made as part of the sale, but i am not sure as a lease. >> i had another question for staff, if i may. we are not the only city with an old building stock, in highly densely populated areas. i am wondering if we have done any research on what boston does, new york, l.a.? how do they deal with this issue? they have the same problems of
old buildings, narrow stairways, lots of people coming in. >> i do not know that we have done any research to that he building department d of based on the california laws, which are based on national laws. every city has their own laws but they cannot restrict -- they can restrict federal laws, more restrictive, but they cannot relax federal laws. i do not know that any city, per say, would attempt to regulate federal law. we can check into it and see what is happening. >> it was not a bad regulation, per say, but policy. how have they dealt with it? >> we would have to check into that. when >> commissioners, -- >>
commissioners? >> how about if we do a next step on this issue. could we officially asked the department to seek out other cities and ask them what they do regarding this issue? how do they handle it? maybe we can get an example of what our sister city -- boston is a good example. new york? >> i know other cities are dealing with this right now. the question is, what is their game plan in dealing with it? the other thing, a lot of our buildings have been around for a long time. this movement of the goalposts, the educational aspect.
if we are serious about doing the right thing, we have the education aspect. these businesses need to know where we stand on the issues. it is a difficult question but at least, and xtech, as the commissioner said, would be to start a dialogue to start to take positions and may be generate some sort of answer where we feel comfortable that if somebody generally makes the effort, is that the end? they do not ever really know if they are compliant. that is a difficult thing. the other aspect which is the vt thing. and the other thing that is brought out is if you do not have the property owners -- it might take x amount of dollars and it is a no-win situation and they have invested all of this money.
for me, the idea this morning is to talk about its. i would like you to stay on our radar and show the community that we understand the pain that you're going through trying to deal with these issues and open up the department more if you do need answers. >> we do have a technical services staff that is available from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and they do answer questions on this daily. but we do have that already available. >> commissioner? >> i appreciate the issues, the participation of the city attorney's office in this process. and maybe as a first death, noticing what we're doing ada -- a first step, noticing when we are doing 88 permitting, that this is the first set -- ada permitting, this is the first step in the authority.
there is this belief that we, as we permit building activity, that as we are signing off on our requirements that they are fine. that is the part that is getting people into trouble, i think. it is interesting because it does put this federal vs. state vs. local. we are giving the authority for them to do it here and authorizing them and then the feds are coming in and busting them. i think it would be great to have the city attorney be a little more proactive in at least educating the public as to what is happening so they're not surprised. businesses that think they are operating legally, or you know, under authority of licensing or permitting all of a sudden are
not. is trying to educate about the different layers and making it clear to people what is what. we may be able to do that, as far as educating, or even as we try to make the laws more effective in working together. >> we can certainly put together a notice similar to what the small business association has already put together that we worked on for the past year and hand out with every tenant improvement that we do. because we do check for california regulation on any plan that we checked. >> i would like to keep this issue on the radar. maybe we could do some things, even if we define it as within the constructs of codes. for example, if somebody wanted
to put in a ramp, rather than a permanent ramp, is it possible to get some advice, maybe from the advisory committee, about a temporary ramps? are they authorized? this meets code. it is a strong enough ramp is somebody kolk -- comes in. it is temporary, but it meets the requirement. things like that, and like with doors, that you have a wide enough doorway. have two doors that you can open, but it is still wide enough for someone to roll in, does that meet the requirement? things like that will make it a little more cost-effective. with that suffice? things like that would be very
helpful, i think. >> we can have our access specialists put together something like that. definitely. gregg's the next step then would be -- >> the next step then would be, just a minute -- would this be a code advisory process? >> know, this would be an in- house process. >> we could get some input as to -- from the community stakeholders that are interested in that being resolved as best as they can be. >> right, and we can do it through the public advisory committee, the pac meetings, and let the people representing the business community know when that is going to be on the agenda. gregg's right, we can certainly
do that. gregg's thank you for coming out this morning. -- >> right, we can certainly do that. >> thank you for coming out this morning. we will certainly try to bring as much resolution to this and try to get this to the goal posts that keeps moving on this issue as best we can. next item. >> we're going to item number eight, discussion of possible action regarding a proposal to delete the exception to section 1,205.1 of the san francisco building code requiring exterior and natural light in the residences. >> are going to take public comment on this first? gregg's if you would like to. >> i think we could take public comment. is there someone from the
department on this? >> you were the one who put this on the agenda. we're going to call for public comment on item number 8. gregg's if it is ok with the commissioners, we can address questions afterwards -- >> if it is ok with the commissioners, we can address questions afterwards. first speaker, please. brecht's does staff want to give a background -- >> does staff want to give a background before we take public comment? >> i do not think we have anyone here from staff to do that. is that correct? correct know, i do not have anyone here to -- >> notno, i do not have anyone here to do that. gregg's section -- >> section 12 of 5.1 was put into -- 1,201.5 -- 1,205.1 was put into the code has adopted.
it was part of the rezoning in much of the city. let's take their rezoning of the east neighborhoods. it was a limited density. for projects that are info project and are only light and have a requirement for 40% in 10% of the units and in some cases, 3-bedroom units, they need to bar light from next door in order to meet the code. -- they need to borrow light from next door in order to meet the code. the 2010 building code does allow for light and air to be borrowed from the room next door. i believe that it will greatly affect projects moving forward as far as density goes.
if we have another agenda item afterwards, which is the green building, for high-density housing, we need the ability to be able to borrow light from the room next door to create bedrooms. i would ask you to eliminate this from the san francisco building code and the back to the california building code. i do not believe that this was vetted through any public hearing when it was added with probably 100, 150 other amendments back in 2011. i do not know of any public comment. it probably did go through code advisory. but most people are not aware of it. i would ask you to eliminate this from the san francisco building code and go back to the california building code. gregg's -- >> as someone who was
very involved in the eastern neighborhoods, when you found out about this, from where your position was, that this was countered to where you were trying to achieve down there, is this right? rex right, the project had been approved -- >> right, the project had been approved in the 2007 building code and that had changed in the 2010 california building code. it got preapproved in application and then submitted and they went to pick up their permit and were not allowed to because the code had changed. this section of the san francisco code had changed. their project was 90% finished. the appeal to the board of examiners who up held that project and referred it back to the code advisory committee to eliminated from the san francisco building code and refer back to the california
building code. >> that was how it came to our attention at that time? gregg's you never had a conversation with stakeholders -- >> eun never had a conversation with stakeholders? >> know, we were never aware -- and out, we were never aware -- no, we were never aware of the change in the building code for never discussed. >> money is john dalton and i'm in the midmarket area. -- my name is john goltz and i'm in the midmarket area. we would like to invest in a couple of the properties right there and bring residential use to a couple of the old buildings. these are old buildings that have exactly that problem that you're talking about. windows in front and windows in back. this particular issue is cost prohibitive. it has stonewalled these projects and we been unable to go forward on it. that is where i stand on this.
if this was deleted, which i'm here supporting today, that these two projects could go forward. >> is your issue bedrooms? >> yeah, the issue is with the libra corpsman's to come to this. and i've talked to a couple of structural -- the light requirements to come to this. and i've talked a couple of structural engineers. there are some buildings right there close to each other. the building itself can handle the ventilation. we can do everything else that is required as far as fire and safety and the important stuff, except for the natural light requirement. >> ok, thank you. next speaker, please. >> hi, any bogart. i want to reiterate the same
thing. i work for some owners that on a building in midmarket. we have been attempting to put something in for a while now and this has been in the way. it has been fire proved and fitted with sprinklers and everything, but the natural light makes it economically not feasible for us to do it. the costs go up astronomically when you start adding in having to deal with these requirements of the natural light. >> thank you. >> i also am in support of the deletion of this section of the code. for the design professionals in the industry, it becomes a
creativity issue. when you have properties with limited frontage is -- frontages made up of 25 50-foot lots better sandwich side-by- side, right here, like because the -- light becomes a valuable commodity. we have the problem of creating more bedrooms. this has always been in the code. this has always been something that is practiced. without this, you have to rely on light wells and complicated egress restrictions. the process in the way this change came about, there was no notice to the industry, no notice to those who have plans in the process already. it was very amongst 100, or 150
mostly green building code revisions or modifications. it came out of nowhere to the industry, and the industry is getting caught in it. if nothing else, we feel that there should be a proper forum and some sort of transparent process in which we can adopt and incorporate this change into these expectations. i am not an architect, so i do not know all of the nuances, but i know that light and air are difficult and sensitive items in san francisco. if your building with yields around you, then light and air -- with fields around you, then light and air would not be an issue. any change to the building code has a cause and effect to the industry. ? thank you. >> my name is kelly. i'm here on behalf of my father,
patrick, who was unable to make it today. he has asked me to speak on behalf of his support for the deletion of this section. thank you. >> my name is jerry bogart. i have been involved with artists for the last 50 years. a lot of them that i know and that have lived in areas that have no light, i want to say it makes the room quieter. i do a lot of computer programming for the firms that come into the city. we like rooms -- and in fact from in a lot of the college's we block out the windows because it cuts out the noise and the environment that is interrupting us. it is not a negative to have a situation -- and in fact, i know and have interviewed people that have been in a room with
auxiliary years, whenever you want to call it, and they love it and have been there for eight and nine years in that environment. the work nights -- they work nights. during the day they have a roof deck that they can go on to. it is not a negative thing to have a room without light in it, especially a bedroom. in san francisco, it is very difficult with their windows, especially on market street because of the noise. if you have no windows, it is like being in the country. it is quiet. it is not a negative thing to be in a room without a light in time for eliminating the light requirement. thank you. >> gary g. architect, practicing architecture here in san francisco for the past 28 years. our specialty is multifamily
development in san francisco for old and new construction and renovation. i'm here to speak to have this section 1205 on lighting, on the amendment to the building code to go back to the 2002 cbc. with creative designs we have been able to create conditions that captured indirect light and direct flight from adjacent rooms. this does not diminish the quality of life from any room. we are very creative in what we do. many of our units, boat rentals and for sale, have gotten positive -- both rentals and for sale, have gotten positive feedback. we can still create the quality of life that is needed within bedrooms and adjacent rooms, and those provisions are those that we should be using.
i support removing this section of the building code and the back to the 2002 udc. >> is there any more public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed. public -- commissioner walker? >> i want to say it is odd to be having a code change proposal without it being presented by the staff. i am somewhat confused about that. it looks to me in documentation and code advisory was against this if i look at this document. a couple of things i would like to hear from the director. but also, i sort of have a problem with our department
dealing with something that planning generally has control over. the eastern neighborhoods plan specifically about increasing density, and at the same time removing or suggesting to remove the access to natural light. i have concerns about this, personally. i think it needs a lot of discussion before it gets to this point. but i would like to hear from director day about the process that we're looking at right now. >> from what i've understand, -- from what i understand, this amendment was added with code changes with the department of environment. lawrence worked to combine both the california presidential code, the green building code, and the san francisco building
code into one document. i do not know the background of this specific amendment, except for what you have in front of you. that was the only thing i could find on anything on its denial after the board of examiners got their project approved through the board of examiners. it was sent back to the coded by three committee, and from what i and understand, -- the code advisory committee, and for my understand, the code advisory committee still voted to act on the amendment. and now we are asking to remove it. the fire marshal called me this morning about this and he wanted to make sure that everyone understood that this is for high rise buildings only. it would not apply to any buildings that would still need egress windows.
this does not eliminate egress windows in low-rise buildings. gregg's which is required in every sleeping room. -- >> which is required in every sleeping room. brecht's -- >> under a certain height. we need to make sure that the intention is there in the different sections of the code. the environmental apartment referred to studies concluding that it had health benefits, but did not say that this is part of the green building code. unless it was added as part of the green building code, it is an amendment to the san francisco building code, which makes the california code more restrictive, -- which makes the san francisco code more restrictive than the california code, and can be removed if it is not part of the green building code in another
section. that is my take on it. >> commissioner lee? >> i'm not sold on eliminating this requirement that rooms -- habitable rooms need natural light. for a number of reasons. one, i think habitable rooms with sunlight, fresh air is a good thing. it is a good design, and if you eliminate it, you have to substitute it somehow. which means you are actually increasing the cost of the building. you're increasing the cost of energy use in the building. it is contrary to being a green building, i think. some might plays an important part -- sunlight plays an important part in making a building action and more sustainable and green. -- making a building actually more